out for the night. dressed to the nines. baby’s with a sitter. blissful, right?

Our future Wahoo!  With more UVA grads in her family than she can imagine–both parents, three aunts, two uncles–how can Lena avoid the orange and blue?  We’re dreaming of taking her to her first UVA football game this fall…

* * *
Yesterday was the last day of Elliott’s training course here in Vicenza.  To finish up things in style, the Public Health Command organized a banquet at a nearby Italian restaurant.  The dress code was “dress blues,” which for Elliott meant his $500 Army uniform which he has worn once before in his entire Army career, and for me meant LBD or something similar.  And babysitters were provided for the night!
Fabulous, right?  Dream come true?  Not so for several factors:
1) Elliott does not have his $500 Army uniform which he has worn once before in his entire Army career.  It is in his express shipment from Egypt to Sicily, a shipment that should have arrived weeks ago.  But when he inquired about it, he got an email that it only left Egypt last week.  So buy another uniform?  Not so easy when you now work on a Navy base!  What on earth was he going to wear?  This is a big deal, particularly because all the important higher ranking officers in his Command would be there.
2) I don’t have a LBD in my suitcase.  I have been living out of a suitcase since May and will be till after Thanksgiving.  In that oh-so-carefully-packed suitcase there is no black silk tricotine or taffeta.  What was I going to wear?  The now-faded sundress Elliott bought me for $10 in Rockport, MA, when my clothes were soaked after sea kayaking and I needed something dry?  Ehhh…
3) I forgot the breastmilk I’d stored for Lena.  It is still sitting in our freezer in Sicily.  Also I forgot my breastpump.  And bottles.  We’re seriously committed to feeding Lena only breastmilk, no formula.  So maybe I could buy a cheap pump?  I went to the store.  They only sell electric pumps for $70-150 each.  Scratch that.  Yikes.
So the Epic Evening Out was turning into the Epic Fail for the young Garbers.  How could we redeem this?  Attendance at the banquet was mandatory for Elliott, and I was not going to stay home with Lena; I knew he needed and wanted me, and my participation was important for our marriage and his relationship with his peers.  So… we needed to get creative.
1) We went to the NEX, which is like the Walmart on Navy bases.  We found some dark gray slacks, black dress shoes, an only-semi-tacky tie, and a handsome blazer for Elliott.  No suits available, sadly.  Elliott looked dashing.  Anyway, his plight was unavoidable and understandable; his commanders gave him permission to wear civilian clothes and that’s what we would do for the night.
2) I called my [brand new] friend Leah.  “Leah, I think you’re about my size… do you have a dress I could borrow?”  She did!  Her little black taffeta number fit fabulously, so fabulously that now Elliott and I wish I could keep it.  The NEX had some gold earrings, and I had dressy gold sandals in my suitcase.  Score.
3) For Lena’s milk, let’s just say her mommy learned what it means to “self-express.”  It took me days, but I had two [smallish] bottles of milk to pass off along with my baby.  The babysitter at the CDC was an incredibly friendly and warm young woman.  I left Lena anxiously but ultimately decided that worrying wasn’t helping anything; I prayed that God would take care of her and left it at that.
After all that drama, choosing to let go and have fun meant we were in store for a great evening.  All Elliott’s fellow Captains/veterinarians were vocally envious of Elliott’s comfortable outfit.  His commanders knew what to expect and didn’t seem to mind at all.  Someone told Elliott he looked like James Bond in that jacket… and wouldn’t you rather look like James Bond at a military banquet any day?  I loved my dress and loved being at a party again.  I loved being the girl with Elliott; I always have.  We ate until we could eat no more and still the food kept coming.  I counted about 8 different dishes, all of the best Italian fare.  Elliott and his commander bonded over their days at the MFO in Egypt (where his commander met his beautiful Israeli wife).  The wine flowed, the speeches waxed, the awards shone. 

Of course we weren’t organized enough to remember everything, and thus forgot a camera.  Here’s a grainy iPhone picture:

And the babysitter never called.  Much later that evening when we slipped into the CDC to pick her up, Lena was fast asleep and had been for hours.  There had been enough milk.  
And her parents carried her home.
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6 Responses to out for the night. dressed to the nines. baby’s with a sitter. blissful, right?

  1. lucyanngreen6 September 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    What a tale! Jehovah jireh…your Provider! So glad that it all worked out; Lena did fine, and you had a wonderful night out together. Here I was thinking that you were having a quiet week! I like Lena in the orange and blue, too :-))

  2. megarber September 2, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Lucy and I noticed we are very regular commentators on the blog! For obvious reasons! All the darling pictures of Lena–what are we going to do with them all?! And you look the stunning couple too. Glad it worked out for all. <3

  3. Autumn September 3, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    That sounds so fun! Everything was cute except the part about self-express…

  4. megarber September 3, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    “But, Mommie, I want to go to Geneva where my grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, and great aunts and uncles went!”

  5. Aunt Kathy September 3, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Wonderful story, Becca! Love you all. Aunt Kathy

  6. Sarah September 7, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    Sounds like a lovely evening! What a great onesie on such an adorable girl! She is beautiful, Becca!

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